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Germans and Jews

I wanted to share an article in the Jewish Standard about a new film, “Germans & Jews,” (trailer above!) by Janina Quint and Tal Recant. It focuses on the stories of people who went back to Germany after the war. I completely relate to the misgivings they talk about. For me, it is still difficult to think of a modern Germany separate from the one my father escaped. On the other hand, I also see parallels to the historical situations of people in my project, like Heinrich Heine. For Heine, his love of German culture trumped the anti-Semitism that brought constant rejection from the institutions he hoped to join. I think there might be a similar situation with Jews who return to Germany. It is still their country, and the country of their ancestors, despite all the horrific things that were done to them and their families.

(The article's title picture of Fritz Stern, from the movie, is taken in the same chair that he sat in, when I visited with him!)

"As far as cinema goes, my understanding of Germans and Jews changed after seeing “Nowhere in Africa,” the 2001 Academy-Award-winning German film about an upper-middle-class family’s time in exile in Africa during the Holocaust. The film concludes at the war’s end, with the family returning to Germany. How could a Jew possibly go back to Germany after losing parents and siblings in the Shoah? The next shock came when I learned that a Jewish classmate, who had received a graduate Jewish studies degree, married a non-Jewish German. Her parents were German Jews. What was she thinking? What drew her and her husband together? Then, in screening the film “The Flat,” I learned that an Israeli couple who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s returned each year after the war for a visit to Germany. They came back so they could vacation with good friends, one of whom had held a high position in the SS hierarchy. Arnon Goldfinger tells that story about his grandparents in his 2011 film, a documentary where he examines that strange relationship.''

Read more: Germans and Jews | The Jewish Standard 

The movie's official site: